The Australian Music Association’s Annual Market Report for 2021 has revealed strong demand for music products in a year still dominated by the effects of the pandemic. Total value and units had increased compared to 2020 as well as the past five and ten year averages, with a slight decrease in overall Average Unit Value compared to 2020.
One of the standout results was the increase in electric guitars, with a 36% increase in units. The US report that the AMA uses as a comparison, from Music Trades, notes that 2021 was the strongest year of growth for guitar sales since the height of Beatlemania in 1964. There are well known supply issues in the industry, possibly masking an even greater demand for guitars.
Pianos made a recovery after a difficult year in 2020, with a 15% increase in upright pianos and grand pianos effectively showing a gradual increase for the past two years. Digital pianos fell while electronic keyboards, often a cheaper alternative, increased by a similar proportion.
Parents continued to buy acoustic drum kits for their children even when they were stuck in lockdown, with a recovery after a difficult year in 2020 for most percussion categories, including an increase in lower cost drum kits. The most significant increase for percussion was in educational and other percussion (instruments other than complete drum kits, individual drums and cymbals) with a 44% increase in import value.
Woodwind, brass and orchestral stringed instruments have been dramatically affected by the pandemic, with a drop in demand particularly in lower cost instruments associated with participation in school ensemble programs as lockdowns and other disruptions affected music education. The recorder did make a comeback, with an increase in imports comparable to the drop the previous year, and this category still growing on longer term trends.
PA equipment including speakers, amplifiers and signal processors remained steady despite the downturn in live music through the pandemic, which is partly explained by the diversity of customers for these products including commercial applications that did not experience the same effects.
DJs maintained their supplies of turntables with only a slight drop in units but an overall increase in the value of those units.
The Australian Music Association prepares a detailed Market Report for its members each year, largely based on ABS import data. The report covers annual units, value and average unit value for all categories of music products including instruments and pro audio, top countries of origin, trends, historical comparison, and analysis.